The latest iPhones offer up to 32 gigabytes of storage space, which is ample room for a large music collection and a healthy library of applications. But add video to the mix and all that storage space can disappear quickly, especially if you want to have all your movies or TV shows on hand alongside all your albums. High-capacity hard drive players are disappearing from the market, and none have the pocket-computer allure of smaller touchscreen devices, making them less and less attractive as time goes on.
Free (light) or $1.99 (pro) iPhone/iPod Touch (works with Windows and Mac PCs) video streaming client by InMethod
One solution is to keep videos off your device's flash memory and watch them online. The Slingbox has popularized the concept of streaming video stored on your home computer to wherever you happen to be. Air Video offers similar functionality by turning your computer into a streaming media server that can transmit to an iPhone client. Both wireless and 3G connections are supported, though the client complains initially about the lack of a wireless connection if you don't have any server profiles set up.
Air Video can take pretty much any video in any format, crunch it down into an iPhone-supported file in real time, and stream it over a network. You do have to worry about your connection, however. Over 3G, 15 minutes of video can translate to about 30MB of data-a sizable dent in most people's data plans. But equally important is your home computer's outgoing bandwidth; at least 30 kilobytes a second is necessary to avoid frequent bouts of buffering.
If your mobile and home connections are up to snuff, however, you can stream pretty much all your video from your computer to your phone at a quality not much worse than if you'd copied the file to your phone directly. That's the sort of freedom even 160GB players won't give you.
iPhone/iPod Touch (works with Windows, Mac and Linux PCs) remote control software (Free for Lite, $0.99 for Basic, $4.99 for Pro ) by RoboHippo
Home theatre PCs are gaining in popularity, and there are remote controls specifically designed for use with computers. But if you've ever seen the all-in-one remotes built for a standard home theatre setup, you know their major weakness-too many buttons, not enough order. Now imagine the sort of remote control you'd need to deal with all the applications a computer can run. What you really need is a remote whose buttons can not only be reprogrammed, but also rearranged, repainted or removed altogether.
As usual, it's touchscreen devices like the iPhone to the rescue. HippoRemote is a suite of remote control applications designed to make interacting with your computer from afar a breeze. The Lite and Basic versions are designed for use as wireless keyboard and trackpad combos, eliminating the need for a separate wireless keyboard and mouse setup. Both apps offer a fairly robust set of features, including landscape and portrait keyboards and a multitouch trackpad that lets you use gestures on both Mac and Windows PCs.
But the bulk of the program's functionality rests in the Pro version. The keyboard and trackpad are still present, but added to the mix are program-specific profiles that add new macros and keyboard layouts. The VLC profile, for example, adds the usual array of media player controls. The Firefox profile, meanwhile, adds quick shortcuts to often-used commands like opening a new tab, as well as easy access to the location bar or the web search bar. If you run across a program that doesn't yet have a profile, you can even make a profile yourself if you're handy with a text editor.
There are a lot of remote control applications out there, but HippoRemote is likely all you'll ever need in a computer remote control.
Free online annotation and citation tool for Windows/Mac/Linux (via Firefox add-on; also supports Internet Explorer 7/8) by iCyte
iCyte is one of those web services that seems to solve more problems the more you think about it. It's positioned as a bookmarking and annotation tool-you can use it to save web pages and mark them up for further reference. So right off the bat you can use it as a complement to bookmarking services like Delicious, allowing you to save not just the URL of a site but also the specific portion of a page you were initially interested in. The ability to highlight a passage in the text means it's also good for citation work.
Expand your horizons a bit, though, and iCyte seems useful for a variety of applications. You can store web pages in public or private projects; public clippings can be shared with others via Twitter, Facebook and other services. Thanks to the annotation ability, you can send your friends straight to the specific section of a page you found interesting. But perhaps the best use for iCyte doesn't involve annotation at all.
Because iCyte saves a copy of the website you're bookmarking, you can use the service as an archive of a specific webpage and refer to information that may have long since disappeared. This is great for sites that change a lot, such as the front page of a newspaper site, but it's also great for capturing gotchas-mistakes, errors or just plain bad judgement that are later retracted without a trace. Maybe the gotcha is just an excuse to make fun of a website for its missteps, but sometimes keeping a snapshot of a website is crucial for holding it accountable for what it publishes-and what it decides to banish down the memory hole. But even if you're just using it for something as humble as keeping track of your own academic citations, iCyte is an elegant and painless way to save, annotate and share copies of a webpage.